ERDOĞAN WARNS SARKOZY OF ‘GRAVE CONSEQUENCES’
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter today to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, warning of the "grave consequences" a French bill recognizing Armenian genocide claims would have on bilateral relations.
"I want to express this clearly," Erdoğan said. "These steps will lead to grave consequences for the cultural, economic and political relations between France and Turkey, and the responsibility of these consequences will fall on those who initiated those steps."
Erdoğan further said such a bill would be seen as directly "targeting the Turkish state, the Turkish nation, and the Turkish community living in France."
The Turkish community still has fresh memories of the assassinations of Turkish diplomats and statesmen by Armenian militants, the letter read.
"We should not enslave our bilateral relations to the wishes of a third party," Erdoğan said. "This is a serious, sensitive issue. It is important that common sense prevails over political aims."
On Dec. 15, Turkish officials said that if the bill was passed, Ankara would recall its ambassador and freeze bilateral ties with France.
France's National Assembly is expected next week to pass the law criminalizing anyone who denies that the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 constituted genocide. Anyone who publicly denies the genocide claims would face a year in prison and a 45,000-euro fine if the motion is passed.